Been a while…. but tradition is tradition, so here’s my team of the season.
1 Joe Marler – Harlequins – international retirement seems to have suited one of the games biggest characters. Hardly missed a game for Quins and usually played a blinder!
2 Harry Thacker – Bristol Bears – finally got his first team chance after leaving Tigers and showed everyone what he was capable of. Scored tries for fun and his all action style was terrific to watch
3 Fraser Balmain – Gloucester Rugby – along with Josh Hohneck, Fraser put in some incredible shifts during Gloucesters injury plagued mid-season. I was tempted to include both….
4 Ed Slater – Gloucester Rugby – the Cherry and Whites skipper led from the front and alongside Franco Mostert gave some incredible power to Gloucesters front 5 engine room all season
5 Will Skelton – Saracens – Came on strong as the season went by, almost impossible to stop when he gets on a charge. His height is an obvious and constant lineout threat. Generally a physically dominant menace.
6 Alex Dombrandt – Harlequins – burst onto the scene with some outrageous performances early doors, leading to many people shouting for an England call up. With the world cup approaching, these may yet be answered.
7 Tom Curry – Sale Sharks – caught the eye with his England performances, but also carried that form into his club games. Fantastic at slowing the ball defensively, a huge threat with his outstanding jackaling and tackles like a monster!
8 Ben Morgan – Gloucester Rugby – Gloucesters back row options are frankly insane at times, but none have caught the eye like the slimmed down, faster and stronger Morgan. Deceptively slick handling, to boot!
9 Cobus Reinach – Northampton Saints – the King of the intercept try. Fast, intelligent, snappy with the pass, Reinach grew into the season and is one of the main reasons Saints made the playoffs. Top contender for Player of the season in my eyes
10 Danny Cipriani – Gloucester Rugby – talking of player of the year contenders… Cipriani has had an exceptional season. His passing has been gracing highlight reels almost weekly. Has matured quickly at Kingsholm and is now a true leader and a talisman for us fans!
11 Denny Solomona – Sale Sharks – Almost under the radar, another England forgotten man has got to the top of the Try Scorers chart (joint with Reinach). His final day superman finish against Gloucester just shows the level he’s operating at.
12 Brad Barritt – Saracens – So many options in the centres, but Barritt’s leadership, composure and defensive excellence gets him the nod.
13 Henry Slade – Exeter Chiefs – At times Slade seems to be playing at another level, his tactical, attacking kicking is world class, he can offload with the best of them and his running lines are exceptional.
14 Santiago Cordero – Exeter Chiefs – Electric. Elusive. Effective. Quickly became a fan favourite at Sandy Park and will be missed next season.
15 Alex Goode – Saracens – played a whole lot of rugby away from the 15 position this year, but has been his usual brilliant himself whatever numbers been on his back. European player of the season, to boot.
I’ll be back with my full Premiership season review and end of season awardd in the near future.